The reality TV you never wanted: at least 70,000 people worldwide are being watched through their own security cameras. A creepy website is streaming from more than 70,000 passwordless security cameras, including ones located in bedrooms.
Security cameras might be broadcasting people’s lives without their knowledge, as revealed by a NordVPN investigation. A creepy-looking website called Insecam streams more than 70,000 security camera feeds.
“Hackers have nothing to do with this threat,” says Daniel Markuson, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN. “The website streams cameras that are not protected by passwords or still have the default passwords. By doing this, they claim to highlight a serious security issue that hackers can also exploit. One way or another, this is a serious breach of privacy.”
How did cameras end up being streamed online?
All the cameras on the website are IP cameras, so they have a built-in functionality that allows their owner to access the feed through the internet from anywhere. If the camera is not secured with a password, its feed can be found on Google. While the feed links are not indexed, almost all include words like “live feed” or the camera model in the title tag. Advanced search operators (“intitle:” for example) help find links that are not indexed, which is how they appear on websites like Insecam.
“Googling cameras that are not password-secured is not illegal, and that is why Insecam is still being updated daily,” added Markuson.
Another way IP cameras can be compromised is if hackers intercept the home’s internet connection. They can then access the feed and use it to blackmail the camera’s owner.
How can you protect your security camera?
“If you find your camera being streamed on a website like Insecam, you can request the website owners to remove the streaming link,” added Markuson. “They promise to remove the link and the feed if the camera’s owners contact them.”
- Check your camera’s password settings. Set up your IP camera to require a password. The password should be complex, unique, and consist of no less than 12 characters. According to NordPass research, people often fail to change their admin passwords. In fact, the most popular password in the U.S. is “guest,” which is also a common admin password.
- Enable your camera’s security features. If you bought a camera that encrypts data transmitted via the internet, turn this feature on. And always update your device with the latest security patches.
- Hide your online traffic with a VPN connection set up on your router. If you set up a VPN, like NordVPN, on your router, you can connect and secure any number of gadgets with a single device slot. Any device that connects to it, including your home security camera, will automatically be private on the internet.